Sousa, A. C., Ribeiro, J., Sousa, M., Colaco, P., Pires, P., Vilas-Boas, J. B., & Fernandes, R. (2013). Aerobic power comparison between ultra-marathoners and track runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 1976.

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This investigation determined and compared the maximal oxygen uptake, velocity corresponding to maximal oxygen uptake, respiratory quotient, maximal heart rate, and maximum blood lactate concentration ([La-]max) between ultra-marathoners (N = 5) and track runners (N = 5) performing an intermittent incremental protocol until exhaustion. Ss performed 7 x 800 m (1km/h increments and 30 seconds of rest between steps for blood lactate collection) until exhaustion. The initial velocity was defined according to individual runner's performance on the 800 m minus seven increments, being controlled by an audio feedback at every 100 m. Ventilatory parameters and heart rate were collected breath by breath (averaged over five seconds) using a portable and telemetric gas analyzer.

When compared to runners ultra-marathoners were lower in VO2max and slower at VO2max. Other measures were not significantly different.

Implication. Track runners were higher in aerobic capacity than ultra-marathoners. Since ultra-marathoners would rarely incur oxygen debt, factors other than the maximum supply of oxygen to the working muscles are important for their events.

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